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Thread: Make America Zen Again! (and Treeleaf's Take on Things) ...

  1. #1

    Make America Zen Again! (and Treeleaf's Take on Things) ...

    JUNDO NOTE: REALLY NO NEED TO READ ALL THIS. 'BOTTOM LINE' IS THAT WE AVOID DEBATING POLITICS (but keep an eye out for some serious issues that may arise demanding a stand), KEEP OUR EYE ON THE HIGHER FOCUS OF OUR WORLD AND PRACTICE, AND WELCOME ALL FOLKS HERE INCLUDING THOSE OF ANY POLITICAL VIEWS (as well as people of all socio-economic classes, nationalities, races, ages, creeds, genders, sexual orientation and identification, and physical abilities).

    My Dharma Brother Brad has a pretty good statement on the attitude in his Community toward politics ...

    I recently strongly disagreed with a priest at one of America’s biggest Zen centers who said, “Mr. Trump and his supporters are not manifesting an intention to be other than racist, ecocidal homophobes.” He said their Zen center should issue a statement saying the center, “unequivocally rejects the hateful worldview of President-Elect Donald Trump, and vows together to actively oppose its implementation. All are welcome to join us in this.”

    They can run their center any way they like. The Angel City Zen Center (ACZC) welcomes Trump supporters or anyone else. If they can conduct themselves politely while they’re in our shared space, absolutely anyone who holds any political view at all will be welcome as long as I am there. We do not require Trump supporters to repent their vote. Or Hillary, Jill, Gary, or anyone else’s supporters for that matter.

    Emily Eslami, one of our regulars at ACZC runs our mailing list. She composed a statement that appears on all of our mailings that goes, “Everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, documented status and political affiliation, is welcome to sit at Angel City Zen Center. The only walls here are the ones we stare at.”

    http://hardcorezen.info/make-america-zen-again/5101
    This was in response to another Zen Priest urging the San Francisco Zen Center to take this stance ...

    So if there is someone who supports Donald Trump who would like to come to San Francisco Zen Center to work on deepening and clarifying their intention to live in wholesome and harmonious relationship with all things, as we too are trying against the stream to work ourselves on these things, then of course they are welcome. They are welcome with all their obstacles and karma, just as all of us are welcome. But their racist, ecocidal, and homophobic act of supporting Donald Trump is not something that we can or need to affirm. You are welcome here despite your act of hatred, just as I am welcome here despite my many and daily acts of hatred. But we will not in the service of “unity” or “empathy” condone or ignore it.

    So how about this as a statement of inclusion:

    San Francisco Zen Center unequivocally rejects the hateful worldview of President-Elect Donald Trump, and vows together to actively oppose its implementation. All are welcome to join us in this.

    https://nozeninthewest.wordpress.com...sisting-trump/
    In light of all this, and in consultation with the other Priests of Treeleaf ... and with all our members (please speak up if you disagree!!) ... I would like to highlight what I feel is OUR STANCE AT TREELEAF:

    - All our welcome here of all political persuasions. Whatever candidate one supported or did not support, anywhere in the world, whether one voted or ignored the whole thing does not matter. In the American election for example (and other recent elections around the world), people on all sides seem to have acted out of concern and what they felt is best, the true "haters" and racists on all sides are few and far between. Most on all sides are just average people doing what they feel is best. Frankly (and this is my personal view, however unlikely) even Nazis, KKK and ISIS members would be welcome at Treeleaf Zendo ... provided that they did not espouse any view of violence, hate, intolerance or racism here (that is the catch). All are welcome to sit Zazen and recite the Heart Sutra and Precepts ... but the minute someone opened their mouth to espouse views of violence, hate, intolerance or racism, they would be stopped from doing so. We do not speak in such ways here. As Brad also notes:

    Someone asked if I’d allow an avowed Nazi or Ku Klux Klan member to sit with us. Absolutely I would. As long as that person could conduct themselves properly in the shared space, they would be welcome. We mostly just sit in silence, looking at the walls. ... After the sitting we have a group discussion. If someone tried to espouse Nazi ideas during that discussion they would encounter a lot of resistance, from me for one. Though I do have to confess that I would be quite interested in finding out why someone with such views would choose to sit with us.
    Frankly, if they came to truly understand the Peace and Non-Violence of Zazen, the Heart Sutra and the Precepts they would not be ... they could not be ... racists or violent haters. Thus, I invite them to come sit with us, because I believe it will serve as medicine to cure that anger and violence in their hearts.

    - As to all persons, our welcome statement says it:

    Treeleaf Sangha is a multicultural Zen Buddhist Community in which people of all socio-economic classes, nationalities, races, ages, creeds, genders, sexual orientation and identification, and physical abilities discover shared humanity by direct experience of one anothers’ lives. We are open to all. We commit ourselves to cultivating a practice in diversity and multiculturalism by incorporating into our practice the dissolving of all barriers that perpetuate the suffering of separation, prejudice, and discrimination. We intend to expand and develop our awareness of the ways we are conditioned to separate ourselves by socioeconomic class, nationality, race, age, creed, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability and other forms of identity.

    - Brother Brad, in my view, correctly describes most supporters of Mr. Trump and Hillary and all the other candidates that I have encountered:

    But, since Trump’s election, I have made a concerted — and often painful — effort to try to understand those who support him. They are not all hateful white supremacists who want to kill Muslims and lesbians in order to make America a Christian nation again. Many of them are deeply concerned that politics as usual has been slowly destroying the United States for decades. They saw Hillary Clinton as the continuation of a system gone terribly wrong and Donald Trump as the only candidate with a chance of winning who represented fundamental change. The same way I saw Hillary Clinton as the only candidate with a chance of winning against Donald Trump, even though I had serious doubts about much of what she represented.
    - Should the Trump Administration, or -any- leader, attempt to implement specific policies that truly threaten unnecessary war, civil and human rights, serious damage to the environment, discrimination against social or religious groups or the like, there may come a time to speak out in this Sangha. However, for now, I want to keep this Sangha focused on the "big picture" of where this world should be heading: Toward peace and non-violence, basic rights to safe housing, food and clean water, medical care, education and economic opportunity for all, honoring and cherishing the environment of this planet. The USA is only one country of the world, even if a pretty influential one, and this Sangha transcends all borders. What happens in America is not so important (even if having great impact) compared to the total health and well being of this world.

    Today, people all over the internet and TV news are shouting at each other on the "small picture", which may be necessary in political debate. It is fine too if some people in this Community also enter into discussion from time to time on specific policies, so long as people do so with kind and soft speech (we do not shout at each other here, flame or call names). However, generally, political debate on specific topics is discouraged in this place. Rather, I hope to transcend all the shouting and "small picture" debate, avoiding all the arguing on specific policies, to keep our focus on the "Big Picture" of where this world needs to go ... and the changes in society that must come that are far far beyond the small concerns of our present capitalist, consumer driven, corporate-run-amuck, use and dispose, flag waving nationalist and religion divided world. We need to keep our focus on big changes and the future (hoping, of course, that we survive the present!) We need to see the forest and the distant horizon, and avoid arguing about the trees.

    We must also stay focused on that Perspective beyond all views and judgments, measures of lack, war and peace, me and you ... even as we work to make this world better. That is a perspective that is rarely heard in this me you right left right wrong win lose world of political debate.


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-11-2017 at 09:46 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo (and Brad)
    Personally, I found the priest at SFZC's position concerning and disappointing. It seems to me that openly stigmatising half the population due to their political views creates division at a time when we should be fostering compassion. Surely the Buddhist response should be to encourage non-judgemental dialogue, exactly as Brad describes.

    SFZC Priest: "But their racist, ecocidal, and homophobic act of supporting Donald Trump is not something that we can or need to affirm. You are welcome here despite your act of hatred"

    This part really upset me. For myself, I will always try to challenge discrimination without judging the groups and individuals deemed responsible. It's not like people who voted for Trump did so with tented fingers and an evil laugh... People voted for lots of different reasons and, as you say, we need to look at the bigger picture. I'm mainly disappointed that this priest at SFZC has apparently decided that there's a time for loving kindness and a time for actively opposing hatred. When did it become one or the other?

    Sorry for saying so much.
    Gassho,
    Alex
    Sat

  3. #3
    Thank you, Jundo. I find it worrying that some sanghas equivocally reject anyone who supports the American President-elect. People have their own reasons for doing so and I believe that not listening to those is part of the reason there is such a political divide in America, and elsewhere. Contributing to that divide would seem to be very unhelpful.

    We all doubtless have our own political opinions but that should not prevent us from being sangha brothers and sisters. In fact, diversity is part of our strength and reaching our beyond the educated liberal bubble would seem to be a very good thing.

    I had an ex soldier come to my sitting group who was very much on the right of politics and it was good to hear of his experiences and opinions. He was very traditional and conservative and unlike most of the liberal counter-culture types I tend to meet in Buddhist communities in the UK. Group think is something we need to watch out for and I can't see a time when excluding people from a sanga is a good idea unless they contravene the rules of a group for some other reason. The Buddha himself accepted serial killers (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/a.../wheel312.html) so why should we draw a line at people who voted for a particular person?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 01-11-2017 at 03:02 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  4. #4
    The concerns that I have are not conservative or liberal. It is not so difficult to see things from different perspectives around the usual divisive issues, and understand different, sincere, values. It is more about how power is used in the coming months and years, and how messaging is used to rouse passions and mobilize people. Jundo spoke about the perception of threat in another thread. Historically this kind of perception has been used to gather power, and I feel a moral obligation to raise this little voice if certain atavistic qualities appear to be rising, on the right or the left. After all if you go far enough to the right you meet the far left, and vice versa. Even then a voice can be raised in opposition without hatred.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    sat today
    As a trainee I ask that all comments by me on matters of Dharma be taken with "a grain of salt".

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo,

    This is my stance on it ... for me regardless of what political view we believe in, if we can come together showing love, respect, openness, compassion, and acceptance to one another (and their view), this is right practice. We all have different views on things, coming together gives us the opportunity to share and learn about those different views ... again this does need to be done with respect and kindness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    members would be welcome at Treeleaf Zendo ... provided that they did not espouse any view of violence, hate, intolerance or racism here (that is the catch). All are welcome to sit Zazen and recite the Heart Sutra and Precepts ... but the minute someone opened their mouth to espouse views of violence, hate, intolerance or racism, they would be stopped from doing so. We do not speak in such ways here.
    If they can conduct themselves politely while they’re in our shared space, absolutely anyone who holds any political view at all will be welcome as long as I am there.
    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  6. #6
    My own feeling on this is most likely in line with Daizan. I'll add this: Treeleaf is clearly not a place, necessarily, to engage in political discourse, and yet I do sometimes wonder if activism shouldn't be a larger part of any sangha. A "sit-in," for instance, in response to say a shooting could communicate a lot, in a peaceful way, about what Treeleaf stands for. Or, a day in which an online sangha "unplugs" could communicate to others much about energy use, as well as test ourselves.

    My own feeling is that I'm occasionally concerned by Zen communities somewhat isolationist stance (not suggesting this about Treeleaf, but about the San Fran center Jundo mentions). I realize Jundo's post is about accepting people from all political persuasions (which of course makes complete sense), and I admire the sentiment of this statement: "Frankly, if they came to truly understand the Peace and Non-Violence of Zazen, the Heart Sutra and the Precepts they would not be ... they could not be ... racists or violent haters. Thus, I invite them to come sit with us, because I believe it will serve as medicine to cure that anger and violence in their hearts." Of course, "truly" understanding the Heart Sutra, or the peace and non-violence of zazen is not something I can claim for myself. I'm sure this little mind and my little sitting has only opened the smallest glimpse and I've only just begun to enter into the depths of care and compassion of a Bodhisattva's mind. Thus, for me, merely reacting is not enough. Challenging myself is important, otherwise I'll get stuck, concerned with my peace, my contentment, etc, etc (similar to that David Loy book). Every day in my classrooms we work, through stories, to discuss the suffering of all kinds of people - the racially disenfranchised, the poor, the greed of the wealthy, the depression of the self-centered, the confusion of those wrapped up in gaining in social life - and while this sometimes leads to political discussions, it more often than not leads to discussions of how suffering arises, why, and how to care for ourselves and others every day in myriad small ways. It's my feeling that if we can act with this mind, then our actions are not merely reactionary (against a certain set of political views), but are rooted in compassion for ourselves and others, and are inherently engaged in both the democracy (and community and political systems) with live in, and in and as the universe.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  7. #7
    Good morning,

    It's precisely polarizing situations like these that provide us with the opportunity to reject binary duality and question our petrified notions of this/that, right/left, conservative/liberal, good/bad. Regarding the election results: if you can't dwell in appreciative joy then dwell in loving kindness. If you can't dwell in loving kindness then dwell in compassion. And if you can't dwell in compassion then dwell in equanimity. No matter how you feel about Trump or Hillary, Coke or Pepsi, steak or potatoes you can practice seeing wholeness and letting go of attachment. No one said it would be easy. I'm happy to be part of a Sangha dedicated to seeing beyond the "small pictures".

    Gassho,
    K2
    #SatToday

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  8. #8
    I agree!

    I don't support racism, homophobia, etc. Hating people that do that doesn't help. What happened to seeing that in each ourselves? We are all racist when it comes down to it. That's not an excuse or a pass to be racist. We should use that in our practice to understand who we are and to transform our harmful outlook/actions into healing ones.

    Further, not everyone who voted for a candidate is one thing or another. I think we have a lot of healing to do in this country. I am praying that Trump behaves more like his acceptance speech. The office of President of the US deserves that, not this divisiveness or off the cuff, without a filter crap. I"m also going to miss Obama; man he was a class act and cool as a cucumber. In any case, I digress.

    I agree with you Jundo

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

  9. #9
    My 2 cents' worth is that I overall agree with you, Jundo. I look to Treeleaf and the Zen/Buddhist community in general to be more accepting than most other religions or philosophies, based on the view that if you accept the Zen or Buddhist mindset, you are already taking steps on the path to get beyond worldly concerns and seek a higher sense.

    I would gladly, and have gladly, sat with all manner of people in the past. I credit my Zen training with helping me look past the things that make people different and focus on what makes us the same. I did not vote for Mr. Trump, and find myself disappointed in some of the things that I am hearing, but I have very close friends that are strong supporters and can see no wrong in his actions. As far as I'm concerned, we are both right, as far as our views are concerned....and we both have the right to follow those beliefs and views.

    I think all Americans need to take a small step backwards and not complain about any of the outcomes of this or any other election. The situation is what it is, and we cannot change it at the higher level. What we *can* change is how we interact with others. Offer comfort and aid to people who are being negatively affected (prejudice, victims of hate crimes, etc.), and be welcoming of others, regardless of their views. I try to remember that if I feel frustration with someone, it is not the *person* I am having problem with, it's their *views*. I can't change those views, but I can explain mine, accept that person for who they are, and try to live by example.

    Thank you, Jundo and Brad, for "keeping the doors open", as they should be.

    Gassho--

    --JimH (SatToday!)

  10. #10
    Thank you Jundo, agree totally with everything said here.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    serene
    ​field

  11. #11
    Donald Trump is America's first koan to be elected president.

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    Last edited by Byrne; 01-12-2017 at 10:46 PM.

  12. #12
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    We are all racist when it comes down to it. That's not an excuse or a pass to be racist. We should use that in our practice to understand who we are and to transform our harmful outlook/actions into healing ones.
    I like the way you say this and completely agree, Risho. Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Hating people that do that doesn't help. What happened to seeing that in each ourselves? We are all racist when it comes down to it. That's not an excuse or a pass to be racist. We should use that in our practice to understand who we are and to transform our harmful outlook/actions into healing ones.
    So true Risho, hate never fixed anything.

    I think it is helpful to examine (and be open about) the difference between "racism" and "racial bias" (or many "-isms" and "bias" in a general sense). Isms are conscious and codified, bias is implicit and often unconscious. There has been a fair amount of research on this topic, and it is pretty consistent across populations: when asked to make snap decisions, or decisions based on limited information, the majority of people have bias. I think this is something we can work with and transform. It is also something we can talk about openly and in a non-judgemental way. Very few people are going to be happy being called racist or sexist or agist or whatever, but may be much more open to discussing bias and the ways they can be aware of and work with that bias.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/u...ial-bias-.html

    It also seems like bias may not always operate in stereotypical ways either:
    https://news.wsu.edu/2014/09/02/dead...-in-shootings/

    Anyhow, thank you all for this discussion.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi #sattoday
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post
    Isms are conscious and codified, bias is implicit and often unconscious.
    I'm not certain how true this is. In my experience, people can very very racist, and not be conscious of it at all (and I'm not talking about systemic, institutionalized racism; I'm talking about individual racial prejudice).In fact, one of the more insidious things about racism is that it is often not conscious. It's much easier to deal with an openly racist person than it is to deal with one who is exhibiting racist and prejudiced attitudes but doesn't believe they are. There is a larger grey area here, I feel.


    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    I'm not certain how true this is. In my experience, people can very very racist, and not be conscious of it at all (and I'm not talking about systemic, institutionalized racism; I'm talking about individual racial prejudice).In fact, one of the more insidious things about racism is that it is often not conscious. It's much easier to deal with an openly racist person than it is to deal with one who is exhibiting racist and prejudiced attitudes but doesn't believe they are. There is a larger grey area here, I feel.
    This is a good point Alan. The grey area is large (all borders dissolve under scrutiny anyway).

    I've never met a person who would say "I am a racist", even the really racist ones.

    For that matter, pretty much every person I've ever met sees themselves as one of the "good guys". I've yet to meet a self-professed villain.

    Robbie Rotten doesn't count...





    Gassho,
    Sekishi #sattoday
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  17. #17
    IMG_0670.JPG

    Make America great again (in Russian).

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  18. #18
    Thank you Jundo.

    Here's my political stance: I am in favor of life, regardless the flag or country. Whomever works and respects all kinds of life, has my unconditional support.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    Donald Trump is Ameroca's first koan to be elected president.

    Gassho

    Sat Today


    gassho

    richard

    S@2day

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post

    I've never met a person who would say "I am a racist", even the really racist ones.y
    All people, no matter their own race, nationality, social class, gender, sexual orientation or identification, physical abilities or disabilities, are potential racists, bigoted and holding unjustified stereotypes and prejudices to one degree or another about other people and groups. Everyone (at least, everyone I have ever met or seen in the mirror).

    Where I live, Japanese people often hold bigoted views about Koreans, Chinese or Americans, while many Koreans are often hold bigoted views about Japanese, Chinese or Americans, as many Chinese often hold bigoted views of Koreans, Japanese and Americans, and American often hold bigoted views on all the forgoing. I do not think any nationality, race, minority or majority, or religion escapes this in America, Europe or anywhere in the world. Some of the most virulent, closed minded, discriminating individuals I have ever encountered are sometimes folks from minorities or social classes who have themselves been victims of discrimination and closed mindedness which that group itself long fought to overturn.

    All we can all do is constantly look in the mirror, each one of us, and ask which of our beliefs are justified and which are simply our own ignorance. We need to demand that all people of all social groups receive equal rights and equal opportunity, and that biases and prejudices be dropped away by all of us. No one is immune from the need for this.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    All we can all do is constantly look in the mirror, each one of us, and ask which of our beliefs are justified and which are simply our own ignorance. We need to demand that all people of all social groups receive equal rights and equal opportunity, and that biases and prejudices be dropped away by all of us. No one is immune from the need for this.
    Yes, thank you Jundo! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  22. #22
    I am a racist. I race all day long. Race race race. Race fast. Race slow. Oh, we are talking about race. My bad.

    It's just a word. Words in themselves have no meaning, until we give them meaning. Intent is what is important.

    My Speedy Gonzales 2 cents.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  23. #23
    Hi all!

    Just dropped by to say hi, and saw this interesting thread.
    I can relate to the confusing feelings of many practitioners as you mention.

    What happened in the US is similar to what happened in Argentina a year and a bit ago.
    I was deeply concerned about the results of the election in our country and started arguing everyone who dared to support the elected president.
    I even opened a twitter account for arguing and finger-pointing.
    It took me more than a year to step back from political discussions, and I couldn't say that I absolutely got over it.
    I'm slowly learning to accept others views even when I believe they are deeply wrong or even with evil intentions.
    51% of voters in my country chose to have a certain government which in my -of course biased- opinion is too bad, but I have to live and deal with it in a way as compassionate as I can.
    Sitting more consistently has helped me much, but I still have a long way to go to get rid of animosity.
    After all that's one of the things practice is about...

    I remember Thich Nhat Hanh's poem:

    Please Call Me by My True Names

    Don't say that I will depart tomorrow—
    even today I am still arriving.

    Look deeply: every second I am arriving
    to be a bud on a Spring branch,
    to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
    learning to sing in my new nest,
    to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
    to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

    I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
    to fear and to hope.
    The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
    of all that is alive.

    I am a mayfly metamorphosing
    on the surface of the river.
    And I am the bird
    that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

    I am a frog swimming happily
    in the clear water of a pond.
    And I am the grass-snake
    that silently feeds itself on the frog.

    I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
    my legs as thin a bamboo sticks.
    And I am the arms merchant,
    selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

    I am the twelve-year-old girl,
    refugee on a small boat,
    who throws herself into the ocean
    after being raped by a sea pirate.
    And I am the pirate,
    my heart not yet capable
    of seeing and loving.

    I am a member of the politburo,
    with plenty of power in my hands.
    And I am the man who has to pay
    his "debt of blood" to, my people,
    dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

    My joy is like Spring, so warm
    it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
    My pain is like a river of tears,
    so vast it fills the four oceans.

    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
    so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can wake up
    and the door of my heart
    could be left open,
    the door of compassion.

    Please excuse from jumping in, and let me wish you all a wonderful 2017.

    Gassho, Daiyo
    Sat today.
    Gassho,Walter

  24. #24
    While we should avoid attacking and maligning a person, we are obligated to confront actions and behavior that are injurious to our community and our environment. We must not forget or attempt to hide the truth.


    echo.jpg

    SAT TODAY IN GREAT FEAR
    Last edited by lorax; 01-13-2017 at 06:12 PM.
    Shozan

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Daiyo View Post
    Hi all!

    Just dropped by to say hi, and saw this interesting thread.
    I can relate to the confusing feelings of many practitioners as you mention.

    What happened in the US is similar to what happened in Argentina a year and a bit ago.
    I was deeply concerned about the results of the election in our country and started arguing everyone who dared to support the elected president.
    I even opened a twitter account for arguing and finger-pointing.
    It took me more than a year to step back from political discussions, and I couldn't say that I absolutely got over it.
    I'm slowly learning to accept others views even when I believe they are deeply wrong or even with evil intentions.
    51% of voters in my country chose to have a certain government which in my -of course biased- opinion is too bad, but I have to live and deal with it in a way as compassionate as I can.
    Sitting more consistently has helped me much, but I still have a long way to go to get rid of animosity.
    After all that's one of the things practice is about...

    I remember Thich Nhat Hanh's poem:

    Please Call Me by My True Names

    Don't say that I will depart tomorrow—
    even today I am still arriving.

    Look deeply: every second I am arriving
    to be a bud on a Spring branch,
    to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
    learning to sing in my new nest,
    to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
    to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

    I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
    to fear and to hope.
    The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
    of all that is alive.

    I am a mayfly metamorphosing
    on the surface of the river.
    And I am the bird
    that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

    I am a frog swimming happily
    in the clear water of a pond.
    And I am the grass-snake
    that silently feeds itself on the frog.

    I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
    my legs as thin a bamboo sticks.
    And I am the arms merchant,
    selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

    I am the twelve-year-old girl,
    refugee on a small boat,
    who throws herself into the ocean
    after being raped by a sea pirate.
    And I am the pirate,
    my heart not yet capable
    of seeing and loving.

    I am a member of the politburo,
    with plenty of power in my hands.
    And I am the man who has to pay
    his "debt of blood" to, my people,
    dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

    My joy is like Spring, so warm
    it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
    My pain is like a river of tears,
    so vast it fills the four oceans.

    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
    so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can wake up
    and the door of my heart
    could be left open,
    the door of compassion.

    Please excuse from jumping in, and let me wish you all a wonderful 2017.

    Gassho, Daiyo
    Sat today.
    Wow! That says it all.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    serene
    ​field

  26. #26
    Thanks for speaking on this Jundo. I personally feel like this is more of a time to come together rather than be divided. The president elect isn't a part of the minority who is supportive of the hate groups but that doesn't mean they aren't supportive of him. Perhaps it would be better to denounce the hate groups and pray for a shift in perspective?

    Chelsea
    Sat2day

    Sent from my LGLS675 using Tapatalk

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by lorax View Post
    Why we should avoid attacking and maligning a person, we are obligated to confront actions and behavior that are injurious to our community and our environment. We must not forget or attempt to hide the truth.
    Hello,

    As "they" are one, one is "them". In the words of a future ex-president, "Cut it out."


    Gassho
    Myosha
    sat today

    P.S. Always enjoy Dr. Seuss.
    Last edited by Myosha; 01-13-2017 at 06:04 PM.

  28. #28
    I find that the key - is to simply, "not bite the hook". Our practice brings such a deep level of understanding, not only of ourselves, but offers up a glimpse of others, too. We are unsure of people's pain and quite often - anger is simply fear, amplified. Lashing out, outlandish Facebook posts - this is just manifestations of fear and hurt.

    On a personal level, we must understand our own triggers and what and how to engage. Which zazen has helped me with, tremendously. What are your hooks? Do I engage with that social media comment? Or do I see the hook? Do I look down upon another for a likely programmed emotion - or do I see that as a hook?

    Here's a great article via Pema on "shenpa" aka biting the hook - but also how to get unhooked.

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-we-get-...-get-unhooked/

    Palms together,

    -w.


    Sat Today.

  29. #29
    There's absolutely no reason whatsoever that anyone is more or less in accord with Buddhist teachings because of their political leanings. This is all the more clear when we consider the various types of societies that have passed Buddhism down for 2500 years. Buddha's teachings are for all sentient beings. Be on the look out for Bodhisattva Donald Trump.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    There's absolutely no reason whatsoever that anyone is more or less in accord with Buddhist teachings because of their political leanings. This is all the more clear when we consider the various types of societies that have passed Buddhism down for 2500 years. Buddha's teachings are for all sentient beings. Be on the look out for Bodhisattva Donald Trump.

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    I can see it now: "Make America at Peace Again."

    Sent from my LGLS675 using Tapatalk

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    There's absolutely no reason whatsoever that anyone is more or less in accord with Buddhist teachings because of their political leanings. ....
    Well, if their political leaning are peaceful and non-violent. Likewise for beliefs that don't espouse hatred of other groups and races. NAZI's and KKK members would be welcome to sit with us in the hope that some of this might rub off, but I would not call their beliefs in accord with the Precepts.

    Beyond that, other values and beliefs might also step over the Precepts perhaps. We must stand vigilant for those too.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-14-2017 at 02:52 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Thank you Jundo.
    We are all one, and none in the same. Separations created in the mind perpetuate the suffering of all people.

    Compassion for all sentient beings is the enlightened way. May we all be free of the jail of the mind, trapped within our suffering. Trump or Hillary, it matters not.

    We must stand in defense of all those who would be hurt, but there is no blame, on compassion and understanding.

    Gassho,
    Seido
    SatToday
    The strength and beneficence of the soft and yielding.
    Water achieves clarity through stillness.

  33. #33
    Who is responsible for more death and suffering, Donald Trump or King Ashoka?

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  34. #34
    Hi
    I think the focus should be only Buddhism. Nothing else. That is one reason I avoid the closest Zen Buddhist temple in my area. It's difficult to practice zazen when angered and enraged by opposite views.
    Jon T
    Sat2day

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by odiedoodie View Post
    Hi
    I think the focus should be only Buddhism. Nothing else. That is one reason I avoid the closest Zen Buddhist temple in my area. It's difficult to practice zazen when angered and enraged by opposite views.
    Jon T
    Sat2day
    Yup. And I even agree with some of those opinions.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  36. #36

    Make America Zen Again! (and Treeleaf's Take on Things) ...

    Hi,

    I love Donald Trump. And if you think about it, so do you.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 01-14-2017 at 11:15 PM.

  37. #37
    Something happened to access. Feeling uneasy. See everyone aft . . .

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,

    I love Donald Trump. And if you think about it, so do you.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Hello,

    Trying again : tell a difference between this and that. Oops, there is none. Wake up or stay asleep. (Talking to you blessed Allaska).

  39. #39
    I read the news today (oh boy) about a protest at University of California Davis that had two speakers scheduled to give talks; Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of right wing Brietbart News and Martin Shkrelli, pharma exec who gained infamy for raising prices of AIDS medications to astronomical prices The students held a protest (with some violence) against their speaking. For everyone's safety, they canceled the talks and the students claimed victory. I disagree with the students. Even though you may argue these men are disgusting people, part of learning is to listen to others speak even if you find them reprehensible. When I was a college student back in the 1970s we were loaded with left wing types; shoot the cops, rob banks and give the money to armed radical groups, kill whitey, etc. We did not protest them. We listened. We rejected them. We went back to class. Shouting down everyone who you disagree with will limit your learning. Then you live in an echo chamber of noises that just agree with you like the comments sections on some of these "news" sites. A bunch of people patting themselves on the back for getting verification from people who are all the same. Any dissent? Just shout them down and call them names.


    Gassho
    Sat Today
    James
    Last edited by James; 01-15-2017 at 04:26 AM.

  40. #40
    The whole political thing hurts both my head and my heart.

    I earned a degree in Political Science in college (also a degree in Russian Studies, oddly enough!), and very quickly found out that the more I learned of politics, the less I liked them. Despite my degrees, I have never worked in, or sought work in, the political sphere. Maybe it's really a political dodecahedron.....but I digress.

    There are many ways to deal with what is going on every day. I hear the stories of this action and that action, this accusation and that accusation, and I shake my head. I don't agree with a lot of what is going on, and I too fear for where we are headed as a country. However, I won't get caught up in the yelling and angry posts. I feel that is like shouting into the wind. I will not change the opinions of those that support Mr. Trump wholeheartedly, and we may *all* be wrong about how things will play out. What is going to happen is going to happen, whether we yell or not, whether we agree or not.

    Having said that....I don't believe in sitting idly by, either. I will be doing all that I can to create change right where I am. I will work to organize a local sitting group, work with support groups in my area, and do as much charity work as possible. I will build closer relationships with everyone that I can, and I will deepen my own practice.....and share it with others. Think globally, act locally, right? The important thing that I am trying hardest to remember is that getting worked up won't fix anything; it will only make me feel worse, more afraid, and more off-balance. Instead, I'm trying to hear what is going on and laugh at what I think is ridiculous. My dad always says, "Things have a funny way of working out"....and I believe him. This ship will right itself, eventually, one way or another.

    I'd also have to paraphrase a comment from the movie "Barfly": "Do I hate Donald Trump? No....but I seem to feel better when he's not around."

    When everything gets to be too much, or too frustrating....sit. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy the sunshine on your face. All bad things end. Go hug a friend and let them know that you are there for them.

    Gassho--

    --JimH (SatToday!)
    Last edited by JimH; 01-15-2017 at 06:50 PM.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by JimH View Post
    The whole political thing hurts . . . Maybe it's really a political duodecahedron.....but I digress. . . )
    Hello,

    Did you mean: dodecahedron?

    Just curious.


    Gassho
    Myosha
    sat today

  42. #42
    Myosha:

    Did you mean: dodecahedron?

    Just curious.
    Indeed I did. I guess I should be more mindful of spell check, and not be trying to be clever late at night! Fixed now, but thanks!

    Gassho--

    --JimH (SatToday!)

  43. #43
    I stayed up into the early hours to watch Obama's historic and remarkable acceptance speech and I watched his farewell speech yesterday. I'm not an American but the man must surely be recognised as one of the great US Presidents. The chasm between him and Trump makes the Grand Canyon look like a hairline crack and so I can see why so many Americans must feel a sense of despair and shame with the election result. I felt, and still feel, the same shame and despair with the Brexit result.
    Nobody has any idea how the Trump presidency will play out but it doesn't bode well. Regardless of his politics, it's clear he has a personality disorder which will make it nigh on impossible for him to function as POTUS – a completely different role to that of a C.E.O. The American people have elected a giant teenager and that's worrying for all of us. It's an important job, for the whole planet: it matters. So this isn't business as usual, we're in a whole new world of fake news, shameless lying, and quick simple answers to complex problems.
    I too have degree in politics – over here we don't dignify it with science – but unlike JimH I believe politics matter because it's the way we allocate resources and if we don't do it right it can hurt people. This isn't a matter of opinion. We can all have differing opinions; you like heavy metal I like bossa nova; you like golf I like tennis. But if your opinion is that some people should be excluded, that some people are undeserving, that some people are less valued, some people are the wrong colour, sex, religion; then that's not an opinion but an act of aggression and needs to be met with response other than: “Some folks think this way and some folks think that way.”
    I have some sympathy with the San Francisco Zen Centre, who didn't say that they wouldn't sit with Trump supporters but that they wouldn't condone or affirm their support for Trump. Exactly the same thing that Brad Warner said. And:

    “You are welcome here despite your act of hatred, just as I am welcome here despite my many and daily acts of hatred. But we will not in the service of “unity” or “empathy” condone or ignore it.”

    Which is a much more equivocal expression of objection when the whole sentence is read. I accept that it would take a courageous Trump supporter ( different by a world to a Trump voter) to out him or herself at the SFZC and then go sit in quiet equanimity on their zafu. But even here at Treeleaf this:

    “Treeleaf Sangha is a multicultural Zen Buddhist Community in which people of all socio-economic classes, nationalities, races, ages, creeds, genders, sexual orientation and identification, and physical abilities discover shared humanity by direct experience of one anothers’ lives.”

    Would be a credo that many red-in-tooth-and-claw Trump supporter would have trouble signing up to.

    I don't come to this sangha for political discourse any more than I go to my ukulele club to discuss quantum mechanics but life has a habit of seeping through the cracks and rather than creating a cordon santiaire around Treeleaf it might be more realistic to accept that politics are part of life – like it or not – and is bound to surface here from time to time. I have faith that my fellow sangha members have the good sense to deal with such matters appropriately.

    Finally, it occurred to me that Buddhism is a much better fit for the conservative minded ( although Trump, unlike many of his supporters, is not a conservative). In the West Buddhism was sold, especially to the counter-culture generation, as a peaceable religion: “There never have been any Buddhist wars.” When a scant reading of the history of Buddhism in the East shows it to be at best supine and at worst complicit in the face of violent state action. Even now, as I write this, there is some saffron-robed Burmese monk planning another pogrom against the Rohingya Muslims. This policy seems to go right back to the Old Buddha with his sly acknowledgement of which side his bread was buttered when it came to dealing with kings. To 'sit with quiet acceptance' is a godsend to any despot or demagogue when faced with a challenge to his authority; to barricade the monastery doors and retreat to the zafu whilst the world burns around you.
    So I ask this question, not rhetorically, because I genuinely don't know the answer: what role does engaged Buddhism have to play and how is it manifest? If we want to keep politics out of Buddhism how do remain engaged? Is rattling a tin at a charity function, Bernie Glassman's project for the homeless or the Burmese Ma Ba Tha programme of genocide all examples of engaged Buddhism? How do we save all sentient beings without becoming political? Because, whilst we might save some sentient beings, if we are to save all of them, as the vow requests, how do we do that without organising as a group? How do we save the planet from environmental catastrophe as individuals sat on our cushions? And if not how do we save the planet when a large tranche of society, including the soon to be US President, doesn't feel it's in need of saving?

    “Rather, I hope to transcend all the shouting and "small picture" debate, avoiding all the arguing on specific policies, to keep our focus on the "Big Picture" of where this world needs to go ... and the changes in society that must come that are far far beyond the small concerns of our present capitalist, consumer driven, corporate-run-amuck, use and dispose, flag waving nationalist and religion divided world. We need to keep our focus on big changes and the future (hoping, of course, that we survive the present!) We need to see the forest and the distant horizon, and avoid arguing about the trees.''

    I agree with this and sign up to it – I'm a liberal progressive, what's not to like! - but how do we get there without arguing about the trees? If we keep our eyes only on the big picture, the distant horizon; how do we see what's immediately in front of us and where to put that first step?


    Martyn

    Sat today.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by martyrob View Post
    So I ask this question, not rhetorically, because I genuinely don't know the answer: what role does engaged Buddhism have to play and how is it manifest?
    No question, no answer.

    Little question, little answer.

    Big question, big answer.

    You asked the question, big, little or no question, so you have the answer.


    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  45. #45
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Mart rob, that is one tough koan.

    While nothing you say is wrong, all I see is people and people. Some have robes, some have names.

    When are you not engaging buddhism? I think I've read your post five times now; while I have no solutions, I can observe you summer up the only problem worth thinking about.in this lifetime. "When am I not myself?".

    I'm grateful for the opportunity we have to meet our disapointments, because then we can op it all, and se life still unfolds.

    I wiill continue to highlight njustice in my community and work towards the conditions necessary for peace and justice, but I don't think I've ever changed a persons heart. Several have decided to follow this example though, and they are transformed.

    Emptiness is not big or small, has no definition and can't be stolen or made.


    Gassho

    Sat today in sympathy with us all.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  46. #46
    I voted.
    I'm Buddhist.
    Therefore this is "engaged Buddhism".

    But also...
    I tried to categorize the world into this or that and the damn thing bit me. Thus:
    There is no Buddhism.
    There is nothing to engage.

    Repeat as necessary. 😁

    Gassho,
    Hōkō
    #SatToday


    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  47. #47
    ...what role does engaged Buddhism have to play and how is it manifest?
    Hi Martyn. Maybe there are as many answers as there are Buddhists.

    Speaking just from my own experience, and please takes this with a grain of salt.... the "taste" of it that I am getting is like this; Being grounded in practice means that action springs from a middle way that does not fall into either form or emptiness. The world is serious business that touches this heart, yet right in the deepest touching itself, the heart remains untouched and free. The world appears perpetually off-kilter and endlessly reaching for resolution, yet at the same time it is already a self-same perfection as such.

    That may all sound a bit too poetic, but these are the words that come up.

    What this means in terms of action is just the ordinary range of acting, but not driven by existential fear or hatred. It can include sharp, direct, action as the situation calls for it. So in a nutshell I'd say "Engaged Buddhism" does not prescribe certain kinds of action, but speaks to where that action is coming from. When it is coming from practice there is much freedom and skill in action, and innovation ..and effectiveness.

    This is just from a baby step taste of it...


    Gassho
    Daizan
    sat today
    Last edited by Daizan; 01-16-2017 at 04:40 PM.
    As a trainee I ask that all comments by me on matters of Dharma be taken with "a grain of salt".

  48. #48
    Hi all,

    For me the term Engaged Buddhism is just everyday practice. How can you be a Buddhist if you don't point your efforts to the well being of all sentient beings? I know it means to take active stance and be an activist of sorts, but at the end it's just practice.

    When it comes to politics, do our civic duties is also part of practice.

    But that's just me.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Hi Martyn. Maybe there are as many answers as there are Buddhists.

    Speaking just from my own experience, and please takes this with a grain of salt.... the "taste" of it that I am getting is like this; Being grounded in practice means that action springs from a middle way that does not fall into either form or emptiness. The world is serious business that touches this heart, yet right in the deepest touching itself, the heart remains untouched and free. The world appears perpetually off-kilter and endlessly reaching for resolution, yet at the same time it is already a self-same perfection as such.

    That may all sound a bit too poetic, but these are the words that come up.

    What this means in terms of action is just the ordinary range of acting, but not driven by existential fear or hatred. It can include sharp, direct, action as the situation calls for it. So in a nutshell I'd say "Engaged Buddhism" does not prescribe certain kinds of action, but speaks to where that action is coming from. When it is coming from practice there is much freedom and skill in action, and innovation ..and effectiveness.

    This is just from a baby step taste of it...


    Gassho
    Daizan
    sat today
    Thanks Daizan that's very helpful! Would you say the Eightfold Path gives us guidelines on how to do/be this?

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    serene
    ​field

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Thanks Daizan that's very helpful! Would you say the Eightfold Path gives us guidelines on how to do/be this?

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    Hi Jakuden. I'm glad you found it helpful.

    Yes, the eightfold path as expressed by Jundo and our lineage, through the straightforward practice of Shikantaza. It is all there. So just keeping doing what we are doing. ..or nondoing.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    Sat today
    As a trainee I ask that all comments by me on matters of Dharma be taken with "a grain of salt".

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